AJROTC Armed Platoon Nixa School District

When Does the Commander Move to Port From Sling and Back?

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Instructional, Regulation Drill Leave a Comment

Recently, I received a question that deserves to be an article. This happens constantly and is part of what I have called Filling in the Gaps. While I have been made fun of for using that term, there will always be someone with a question. They have a gap in their knowledge and are seeking to fill it.

The Question

[edited- DM] DrillMaster, during the Armed Squad sequence, the team marches at Quick Time, must go to Double Time March, back to Quick Time, and then Rear March (some sequences require Column Left). In that sequence the commander should be at Port Arms and NOT Sling Arms correct? Now, if that is true when does the commander go to Port Arms and then back to Sling Arms?

The Answer

Note- The JROTC commander for Army, Air Force, and Space Force must assume Sling Arms before beginning this phase of the competition. The JROTC commander for the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard must assume Right Shoulder (which doesn’t make sense, Sling Arms is better). By the way, “Facing movements by commanders of armed troops may be executed while at right shoulder arms.” MCO 5060.20, 6. General Rules for Drill, f. (3).

  • Paragraph 4-26 of TC 3-21.5 (addressing only marching) has several bullet points that explain Double Time. The second bullet has this parenthetical guidance: “When armed, Soldiers will come to Port Arms on receiving the preparatory command of Double Time.” And then we read the Note, which tells us that troops must be at Port before the command is called. That leaves the commander position up in the air. Both of these together don’t make sense.
  • Paragraphs 5-2 (M4) and B-1 (M16 Appendix) have bullet points that state “The command Port, ARMS must be given before the command for Double Time.”
  • Paragraph 5-17 (M4) has a bullet that states “All individual and unit drill movements can be executed at Sling Arms except Double Time, Stack Arms, and Fix and Unfix Bayonets, which are executed from Order Arms.”
  • Paragraph E-18 (Sword/Saber Manual Appendix) states “E-18. Port Arms (see figure E-10) is executed on the preparatory command Double Time of the command Double Time, MARCH.”

Only those in charge of a formation are armed with a sword/saber. Movement to Port with the sword is an indication to me that the commander of the formation who is at Sling, should then bring the rifle to Port on the preparatory command.

Nothing indicates when to return to Sling or even Carry for the commander carrying a sword. So, that decision is left up to you and that means a judge cannot complain about your decision. My suggestion is to move to Sling as soon as the team as back at Quick Time just before the Rear March/Column Left, which come very quickly.

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